Let me be upfront: I don’t like sports. Regardless of whether they’re played on fields, courts, diamonds, or computers monitors, hyper-competition isn’t something that excites me. Even so, I can appreciate sports for what they are.
This is my current relationship with esports. While I have no interest in watching gamers duke it out myself—even if they are super-duper skilled—I respect those who can make a living at it. And I respect the specific titles that are popular in this scene.
Arcades, despite long being a haven of social and competitive play, are in some ways struggling to find their place in the esports sector. In America, we have two particularly prominent esports titles: Golden Tee Golf and Big Buck Hunter, the latter of which just had an exciting weekend.
Yep, it’s time for my buried lede.
The 9th Ladies’ Tourney and the 12th Big Buck World Championship were held from October 11-12 at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, marking off two heated annual arcade events.
The Ladies Tourney featured 32 female competitors, including two former champions and nine debuting talents. At the conclusion of the tournament, Canadian Lauren Hope laid claim to her first Ladies’ Tourney title, a $5,000 cash prize, and the honor of being the tournament’s first ever international winner.
Ironic, ain’t it?
Hope and 15 other female shooters also competed in the Big Buck World Championship the next day. Nineteen of the 64 total participants were new to the event.
To shake things up, developer Play Mechanix implemented totally new animal paths, meaning all competitors were experiencing them for the first time. (Real clever of ‘em.)
Andre Rivas ended the night with a decisive victory, earning another first time World Championship title, a $20,000 cash prize, and (apparently) the honor of being the tournament’s first Californian victor.
And that’s the big spiel. Challengers came, saw, and conquered. The end, right?
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I don’t like sports. Despite that, I am going to support arcade esports like the Big Buck World Championship ‘til I’m in the grave. Coin-op titles should be just as relevant in the competitive space as any other video game experience.
As a matter of clarification, I don’t think we should add esports lounges to arcades. That’s beyond stupid. (Cough, Gameworks, cough.) But we should start treating actual arcade games—not Fortnite, not Apex Legends—as legitimate esports properties.
Fighting games? Rhythm games? Racing games? High score games? I firmly believe all these and more should be up for consideration in the future. Because, while Golden Tee and Big Buck are good starts, I see so much more potential yet untapped.
Fortunately, we are making headway. The indie arcade esports scene has seen some pretty explosive growth with the likes of annual BumbleBash tournaments. (Those I must discuss soon.)
In the meantime, we’ve got next year’s Big Buck World Championship to look forward to when the qualifier opens on all Big Buck HD units November 1.
See ya ‘round, ya sweaty nerds.